The Biden Administration is scrambling to find 20,000 beds to shelter the rapid influx of child migrants crossing the border, according to a new report.
Axios reported that President Joe Biden has a briefing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon during which he will learn about the current situation at the border.
The number of migrant kids crossing the border is on pace to exceed the record by 45 percent and the administration does not have enough beds to shelter them all.
The Department of Health and Human Services is planning to update its current coronavirus protocols to make room for about 2,000 more kids and teens, according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the presentation.
The Department of Homeland Security projected there will be 117,000 unaccompanied child migrants crossing the border this year, but over 6,000 were caught in just the last month.
Children apprehended at the border are held briefly in custody before being transferred to government shelters.
From the shelters, the minors are released to their parents or other adults while they pursue their claims for asylum or other protection with the help of lawyers or sponsors, according to Reuters.
The HHS had to reopen an emergency shelter in Texas in February and is considering reopening a controversial facility in Florida to try to provide housing for the children.
“Even with new shelters and loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the administration projects it will fall short of its needs by a couple thousand,” Axios reported.
The Biden administration is planning to end a Trump-era agreement that included strict sponsor background check requirements.
The Trump administration had sought to step up sponsor vetting.
“We wanted to make sure that we weren’t putting those children in harm’s way,” former acting HHS secretary Chad Wolf told Reuters.
The HHS also said it would pay for transportation of unaccompanied minors, including flight costs, in cases where sponsors can not pay.
Rep. Henry Cuellar had warned the Biden administration in February of the fallout that could come from easing up on illegal immigration too much.
“You just can’t say, ‘Yeah, yeah, let everybody in’ — because then we’re affected down there at the border,” the Texas Democrat told Axios.
He cited an impact on border communities, local hospitals as well as the potential to continue to spread COVID-19.
Cuellar added that “the bad guys know how to market” the shift in immigration tactics from the Trump to the Biden administration and will use it to convince more migrants to come to the United States.
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